A takeover approach by Thames Water owner Macquarie for Australian airline Qantas caused British Airways shares to surge by more than 2% today.
Qantas was approached by Sydney-based Macquarie and US private equity group Texas Pacific over a deal which it is thought could be worth almost $11bn Australian dollars (€6.6).
The audacious move for Qantas sparked talk in London that BA could also become a takeover target, lifting its shares more than 2% to 492p.
Airline analyst Andrew Fitchie, of Collins Stewart stockbrokers, said the valuation reportedly placed on Qantas meant any move for BA would be in the region of 750p to 830p a share – valuing it at up to £9.4bn (€13.9bn).
He said the interest in Qantas from Macquarie showed that infrastructure funds were now prepared to look at major airlines despite political and legal hurdles and opposition from unions.
Mr Fitchie said: “It will undoubtedly fuel a lot of speculation about other airlines and BA is an obvious target.”
Shares in easyJet and Ryanair were also on the rise today, up more than 1% each.